A few surprises lurk in London’s shadows…
Evie Frye speaks, stands and moves like an assassin. Fitting, of course, considering her close adherence to the Creed and her mastery of the shadows. She, alongside her brother Jacob, serve as the two playable protagonists in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate on PS4. They mean to take back London from Templar control. But, as I experienced during my time with Syndicate, Evie is designed with stealth players in mind — more so than her rather puckish, headstrong counterpart.
Drifting up to a small pier next to the Tower of London, Evie plots the assassination of a valuable target. Amidst the evening sway of street musicians and the clatter of passing, horse-drawn carriages, Evie moves with the characteristic calmness of a highly-trained killer. But her skillset extends beyond her predecessors and includes techniques that highlight her specialisation in the art of stealth.
Evie can blend into the streets with near-perfect results, giving her and players an additional avenue for stealth play (and an escape route when things go terribly wrong). Couple this with the new rope launcher — which Jacob can also use — and the stealth game of Syndicate feels markedly different from previous entries in the series. The rope launcher sends our friendly neighbourhood assassins rocketing into the air and also gives them a means of moving from one building to the next at a much quicker pace.
The moment-to-moment gameplay of Syndicate should still feel familiar to long-time Assassin’s Creed devotees. A mix of stealth, traversal, and counter-heavy combat oscillates in real-time as missions change by the minute. The sudden arrival of a guard may throw a well-laid plan down the drain, demanding strategic use of Eagle Vision to spot potential threats and track them as they wind through alleyways and across rooftops.
Evie moves through these massive environments handily, dispatching guards in both lethal and nonlethal fashion. Choosing how to tackle missions is a highlight of Syndicate, as the development team has put black box missions (missions open to player choice) at the forefront of the experience. Players can choose how to approach a target, either by interacting with agents of interest (a friendly character, key master, or the like) or simply pressing on and carving a path of their own design.
While certain story missions will require Evie or Jacob’s participation, the open world of London will give players their choice. And if my time with Evie is any indication, stealth players will most enjoy donning the stylish coat and hood of Ms. Frye to take full advantage of her chameleon-esque techniques.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate launches 23rd October on PS4.